How were people saved in Old Testament times?

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Dr. Harry Ironside, for eighteen years pastor of the Moody Church in Chicago, told of visiting a Sunday School class while on vacation. The teacher asked, “How were people saved in Old Testament times?”

After a pause, one man replied, “By keeping the Law.”

“That’s right,” said the teacher.

But Dr. Ironside interrupted: “My Bible says that by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”

The teacher was a bit embarrassed, so he said, “Well, does somebody else have an idea?”

Another student replied, “They were saved by bringing sacrifices to God.”

“Yes, that’s right!” the teacher said, and tried to go on with the lesson.

But Dr. Ironside interrupted, “My Bible says that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin.”

By this time the unprepared teacher was sure the visitor knew more about the Bible than he did, so he said, “Well, you tell us how people were saved in the Old Testament!”

And Dr. Ironside explained that they were saved by faith—the same way people are saved today! Twenty-one times in Hebrews 11 you find the same words “by faith.”

If you are a Jew, you are a child of Abraham physically; but are you a child of Abraham spiritually? Abraham is the father of all who believe on Jesus Christ and are justified by faith. If you are a Gentile, you can never be a natural descendant of Abraham; but you can be one of his spiritual descendants. Abraham “believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”

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